Glasgow-based insurance broker Blackford doubles headcount and strengthens client base

Glasgow-based insurance broker Blackford is looking to boost its ranks further after doubling its team since the start of the pandemic, also securing 150 clients in that time.

The business risk specialist, which has received backing from Edinburgh-based Murray Capital, the private investment office of the Murray family, also said it has sustained 70 per cent growth across its commercial and newly formed private client practices.

Additionally it says it now counts global tech firms, eminent fund managers, and renewables heavyweights amongst its client bank – and has been focusing on sectors such as technology, professional and financial services, construction, and natural resources.

Blackford, which started out a year before Covid-19 struck, is led by founder and MD Tom Aldridge, who said: “Our model is to employ and develop top technical talent, and then grow the business by referral and reputation. We also match a service team to a client by considering the character of the brokers and their sector experience, as opposed to simply location.”

Blackford MD Tom Aldridge (centre) with two of his nine new hires, Michael Gregson (left) and Nick Smith (right) at the group’s HQ in Glasgow. Picture: McAteer Photograph.

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Glasgow insurer Blackford grows operation in Scottish capital

The firm said its Aberdeen team has generated half its new appointments since taking up residence in the city’s Marischal Square office development a year ago. The local team – all formerly Marsh (Central Insurance) employees – was recently joined by commercial brokers Kira Hendry and Anne Catto.

The group, which also has bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, increased its staff numbers to 18 this month and is looking to hire more this year, in line with its ambitions to employ 25 by 2023.

Blackford has also opened a new private client division led by Michael Gregson (formerly Oak Underwriting and TL Dallas & Co).

Nick Smith has been named a client manager, based at the group’s head office at The Garment Factory, Glasgow, with a focus on renewables, engineering and construction. His background includes technical underwriting at insurers RSA and Aviva, plus working within the renewables team for seven years at Bruce Stevenson.

Blackford added that it finds itself “amidst an ever-decreasing pool of independent brokers in Scotland with many clients and staff possibly disengaged with the result of yet more consolidation and change in the marketplace”. The firm in 2019 took on a customer book of TL Dallas, with a collective premium value of more than £3 million.

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